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Facts and Folklore of America's Aztec Lizard
David E. Brown and Neil B. Carmony
Nature and Environment
The Gila Monster spends 99% of its life underground, making encounters with this lizard extremely rare. Sightings are infrequent even for the biologists who study them. When one does stumble upon a Gila Monster, however, this slow-moving lizard is not easily forgotten. Advertised by orange-and-black coloration and followed by stories of venomous power, the Gila Monster carries a mystique like that of few other animals.
In this volume, authors David Brown and Neil Carmony dig out the tall tales, dispel the myths, and reveal the lizard’s true character. Through a collection of biological and historical facts mixed with entertaining stories, they have created an illuminating account of America’s largest and only poisonous lizard. Written in an engaging style, The Gila Monster is a fun and educational read for all who are intrigued by the Southwest and its most mysterious denizen.
David E. Brown is adjunct professor of biology, Arizona State University, and author of Vampiro and Biotic Communities of the Southwest.
Neil B. Carmony, formerly a chemist with the U.S. Geological Survey, is coeditor (with David Brown) of several books about naturalists and adventurers.
Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations
PART I. Natural History of Gila Monsters
Discovery By Science
Range and Distribution
Temperature and Moisture Regulation
The Gila Monster at Home
Sex Life, Reproduction, and Sociability
Enemies, Mortality, and Longevity
PART II. Humans and Gila Monsters
The Gila Monster in Indian Cultures
Early Accounts by Western Man
Mexican and American Folklore
Is the Gila Monster Poisonous?
Potency of Venom
Reports of Human Deaths
Some Famous Gila Monster Bites
Effects of Gila Monster Bites on Humans
First Aid for Gila Monster Bites
Alcohol as a Remedy
Dr. Stahnke and the Poisonous Animals Research Laboratory
Danger to Pets and Livestock
Homeopathic Uses of Gila Monster Venom
Commerce in Gila Monsters
Changing Attitudes Toward Gila Monsters
The Gila Monster in Literature and Film
The Gila as a Southwest Symbol
Praise and Reviews:
“One of those educational booklets that you can dip into anywhere. Its entertaining format belies the amount of research that must have gone into putting it together.”
—The Arizona Daily Star
“A remarkable look at an armored lizard with a snake’s tongue that lives virtually all its life underground.”
—Books of the Southwest
“Colorful and sometimes humorous accounts about this intriguing reptile. If you are interested in the natural history stories of the Southwest with a twist of animal folklore, this book is easy to read.”
—Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science